- “All is not well with Nigeria.” Atiku laments on 59th independence anniversary
Reading your Independence anniversary message I couldn’t help but marvel at your insistence to hoodwink Nigerians into believing you are what you are not. Nigeria’s 59th Independence anniversary should be a time for sober reflections not a contest for the most impressive lamentations by people who were given a chance to make a difference but failed woefully. Sure, ALL IS NOT WELL WITH NIGERIA thanks to its past leaders like you who flagrantly and intentionally refused to add anything on what was bequeathed to Nigerians by its founding fathers.
Sir, how could it be well with Nigeria when serially those privileged to be awarded its leadership only used the opportunity to create a personal Nigeria for themselves and their families with resources meant to develop the country? How could Nigeria be anything other than a bad story when most of its past leaders could corner public funds meant to make Nigeria well only to turn around and invest part of the loot in sectors they bastardized with a clear motive to cash on the self-inflicted deficits? Let me pick a single sector and explain a bit more.
From 1999 to 2007 you served as Vice President to Nigeria’s most powerful President, former President Obasanjo. Within the period there were strikes and total closure of Nigerian universities in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007. All these strikes were a fallout of the conflict between Academic Staff of Universities Union (ASUU) and the Federal Government over funding of the Nigerian Universities and better working condition among other reasonable demands.
That strikes in our Universities continued long after you left office, almost occurring in each year of the tenure of your successor — 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013 —says only one thing, you and your principal, former President Obasanjo did nothing significant to change the sordid narratives of Nigerian Universities much less, make them the cure Nigeria needed to be healthy enough to save you the burden of scripting empty periodic lamentations.
Funnily, while Nigerian universities were dying and decaying under the supervision of you and your principal, smart Nigerians saw a lucrative business opportunity in the dysfunctional education sector you helped created. Establishing private universities became a lucrative business. Against all known logics and sense of decency, you and your principal shamelessly joined the rush to establish private universities in what could be the second most frenzied rush after the gold rush of yore. You did this knowing fully doing so was in conflict with your mandate and responsibilities as President and Vice President.
In 2004, your principal, former President Obasanjo established the first private university of technology in Nigeria, Bells University of Technology also known as Bellstech, in Ota, his Ogun home State. You promptly joined him by establishing the obscenely elitist American style American University of Nigeria (AUN) in Adamawa your home State.
This is saying, while your focus should have been on how to improve public universities and make them the learning citadel universities are known for across the globe, you were just busy getting the necessary permits (by God knows how) to exploit the situation and widen the gulf between Nigeria’s haves and have-nots. Sir, how could it be anything other than “not well” with Nigeria with leadership attitude like this? Good nations were not built by the simple ability to assemble grammar experts to write flowery messages for gullible consumers. Good nations are built by selfless and patriotic leaders.
Nigeria could have have been a great nation but for the tragic fate of not being blessed with leaders that could answer the name of selfless patriots. If anything, Nigeria’s 59th Independence anniversary should generate only introspection and sober reflections from its past leaders (read: dealers). Rather than living in their own world of grammar and rhetorics, past leaders like you should be hiding their faces in shame while we mourn our sad misfortune for being afflicted with them.
This is certainly not time to rub salt to our injury unless the intention is to push public patience to its breaking point sir. Nigeria has endured reckless, tragic and selfish leadership with a dignifying silence. In return, I think Nigerians deserve to be allowed by its destructive past leaders to rue our misfortune in silence.
Nigeria is 59 years old and yes, it’s nowhere near where it should be. However, we are lucky Nigeria is well on the road to the desired destination. I’m aware that people used to living fat on the gullibility of Nigerians are yet to be weaned of the bad old ways. But just as much, people aspiring for a decent Nigeria would not rest until the system is weaned of corrupt tendencies that kept Nigeria in diapers at 59.
We are not there yet but, we are happy to have a President whose idea of national development is more realistic than establishing private universities for people of his class and status. We are happy that today, Nigeria is no longer a dumping ground for foreign goods. We are happy that we no longer create job opportunities for youth in Thailand and China while we lament rising cases of drug addiction and criminality among Nigerian youth because of employment. Anybody who is not happy with this should ride a bicycle to the moon and jump down for all I care.
This is dedicated to all Nigerians who could see through these facades of lies.
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY